In the aftermath of his decisive Florida victory, Mitt Romney picked up some new followers. These followers aren’t fervent fans of the former Massachusetts governor, though. They are Secret Service agents.
The Secret Service, in addition to providing protection for the President, Vice President, their immediate families, former presidents, and heads of state from foreign nations, also provide protection for major presidential and vice presidential candidates. The Secretary of Homeland Security determines, with the assistance of an advisory committee primarily made up of House and Senate leaders, who is a major candidate.
Romney’s status as a “major candidate” in the eyes of this committee and the Secret Service comes with advantages and disadvantages. The Secret Service cut a distinctive figure, one that can’t help but make the protected look presidential, but it also greatly limits Romney’s access to the voters. Getting into events takes more security, roads get closed and traffic jams ensue, and the Secret Service will do their best to keep a good, safe distance between him and the attendees at his events.
Still, there’s a very good reason for Secret Service protection. The tragic assassination of Robert Kennedy in 1968 proved that just because you aren’t president doesn’t mean you aren’t a target. In this case, safe is definitely better than sorry, even if it comes at the cost of political good will.
– Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPlace Money & Politics Editor
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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